An edible, life-size gingerbread house was unveiled in December to the extreme delight of hundreds of kids, big and small.
For two weeks, the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney pastry team worked around the clock. It took 400kg of gingerbread bricks and warrior-style gingerbread men, which we affectionately dubbed “ginger ninjas”, before erecting the 2.4m by 1.8m construction.
The walls were joined with 100kg of house-made icing and rendered with countless bags of lollies – M&M’s, Chocolate Freckles, Snakes Alive, Liquorice All Sorts, Red Skins and giant lollipops – you name it, it was stuck on there! With icing snow and Santa’s boots sticking out of the chimney, it couldn’t look more like Christmas.
For the kids, there was a little picket fence and a mailbox for Santa’s letters. And, for the parents, there were shelves lined with Christmas gifts for purchase. The ginger ninjas were available for sale in the lobby with a take-home recipe card, along with Christmas puddings, fruit mince tarts, Connect-4 carry packs of coloured macarons and Santa’s packs filled with marshmallows, hot chocolate mix and chocolate chip cookies.
“Why did we go to all this effort?” you might ask. Well, we simply wanted to create something that was just as exciting for big kids as it was for the little ones.
I’ve always loved a reaction, and have even been a tad naughty to get it in the past. What better way than to create an edible Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house?
I was told to keep news about the gingerbread house on the down-low… not to make a huge deal about it. But, when have I ever listened to anyone? I had a vision for a fairytale, so I just went for it.
I took great pleasure in sending out invites to those who supported me and my team throughout 2014 to come into the hotel, drink eggnog and nibble on Christmas canapés.
Of course, I also got my DJ up on the decks spinning Christmas tunes, encouraged everyone to have a sing in the choir and finally unveiled the pièce de résistance in the lead up to the curtain reveal: Mr Lloyd Gy playing the drummer boy with seven drum members in tow. With lights pumping out of the gingerbread house, it really was like a modern day fairy tale.
Christmas is a time of joy, a time of sharing and making people of all ages feel special. Presents are amazing, but being in a room full of loved ones and enjoying their company… now that’s priceless. By the time this magazine has gone to print, the spectacular Hansel and Gretel gingerbread house will be reduced to a pile of crumbs. We waited until December 5 to unveil the final masterpiece, when the hotel staff lit the Christmas tree in the lobby. It truly was a spectacular and festive sight.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our many projects this year and contributed to an amazingly successful 12-months. Cheers to 2015!